Throughout the country, Oktoberfest is in full swing, and Halloween is lurking just a few weeks away. This October has also been designated by the White House as National Energy Awareness Month! Energy is a nationally important issue because it affects not only our economy but also our security and environment. Every minute of everyday, we use energy to power some facet of our life in the 21st Century and without it, our lives would be unrecognizable.
Your monthly electricity bill pointedly reminds you of your energy usage around the home. Yet, it’s also important to learn about how lowering your family’s energy usage contributes to our nation’s economy, security, and environment — and how doing so can help you save money. To help out, here are some facts that may answer some energy questions and tips that might help you lower your electricity bill.
- On hot summer days and cold winter nights, it’s the lack of enough power lines to send electricity to those that need it that causes a brownout. Where electrical demand is high and there are too few power lines, power purchasers must buy more often from higher-cost suppliers, and the result is higher electricity costs for consumers.
- Changing air filters regularly and cleaning (or unblocking) return duct vents keep your HVAC system running efficiently and improve its lifespan. Regularly wash out the condenser fins on the AC unit outside. Once a year, have your system inspected to fix problems before they become expensive repairs.
- Keep access to your breaker panel clear and always keep a flashlight with fresh batteries stationed nearby. Also keep your panel information up to date by posting a breaker directory on the inside of the panel door. You can make one using MS Excel or MS Word and self-adhesive address labels.
- Write the number of the circuit breaker on the inside of outlet and switch faceplates with a marker. This way, you can always be sure of knowing the right breaker for your outlets and switches.
- Airsealing your home with weatherstripping on windows and doors and filling drafts with caulk or expandable foam will save you money off your heating and cooling costs. Not only does this reduce the cost of your energy usage, but it can keep out pests and will also improve the air quality by blocking out moisture that can encourage the growth of mold and mildew. Remember to close and seal your fireplace flue when it is not in use.
- Wind-blown dirt and debris prevent your windows and doors from closing snuggly and allows moisture and cold air into your home. Twice a year, inspect your windows and doors to be sure they close properly and clean dirt from tracks, rails, and jambs.